300 (2006) This is Sparta!

Whether you like 300 or not, the least you can say is that it is quite original. I can’t think of any other war movie relying so heavily on CGI and adding so many fantastic elements.

This is a Rock’n Roll retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. Part fact, part highly fictionalized story, it is a romp no less starring some of today’s best-loved stars like Gerard Butler (Good-bye Frankie, P.S. I Love You, Beowulf & Grendel), Lena Headey (The Broken, Terminator series) , Michael Fassbender (Centurion, Fish Tank, Inglorious Basterds) and Dominic West (The Wire, The Devil’s Whore, Centurion).

At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to the Spartans and their ways. They are warriors and already trained to become warriors at a very early age. They don’t like deficiencies or disabilities. A child that shows sings of weakness will be discarded. Discipline, endurance and self-control are the key words. At school we were taught the story of a Spartan boy who hid a fox under his coat. The fox started to eat him alive but the boy wouldn’t flinch. Every thing that we see about the Spartans in the movie is factual. Also the role of the women. Unlike in Athens, women were highly educated and treated like equals.

The war started because the Spartans did not, as demanded by the King of the Persians, Xerxes, kneel down and subdue. No way. On the contrary. Why would they, after all, this was Sparta. They were not even impressed by Xerxes huge Army against which a little number of 300 Spartan soldiers looked almost ludicrous and would probably not stand a chance. Surprisingly as this may seem, they defended themselves incredibly well. The Persians really got their asses kicked.

If you want to know what the outcome of the battle was you will have to watch the movie.

300 is quite impressive and, although it isn’t one of my favourites, it is entertaining and, despite some fantastic elements, historically accurate. I always found the Spartans highly fascinating. Somewhat crazy but interesting.

The King of Sparta and his wife are very attached to each other which gives the opportunity for a bit of romance as well.

Is this movie purely a guilty pleasure or is it more? I think it is a mix.

15 thoughts on “300 (2006) This is Sparta!

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    I was worried you would not like it. I am a big fan. My brother had given me the comics years before so I was nervous going in to the theater, but it turned out to be one of the best movie experiences I have ever had. It was so different than everything out there at the time. I like it when movies break new ground and use new technology to tell stories differently.
    As a military history teacher, I can overlook the inaccuracies (or rather exaggerations) because the execution is so compelling. Plus, it’s obviously meant to be over the top. Even today’s students could not think it is realistic and they can learn some from this movie on a topic that has been largely forgotten – the Battle of Thermopylae. It’s not like we have a lot of movies about Greek warfare!
    BTW the movie was a surprise hit. It should not have been a surprise given its appeal to various markets: straight men loved the violence, gay men loved the bodies, straight women loved the muscles,…

    • I thought you knew that I had seen it before. I had it on my 15 Original War Movies List with a description. I only do lists with descriptions when I have seen the movies. The first time I watched it I hated it, the second I liked it because of the romance part and this third time I was going towards the first watching again. But since I have seen it three times I incorporated all three viewings and came out fair to the movie. I still would never include it in any of my favourite movies list but it is original and fairly accurate.

  2. […] 300 (USA, 2006): The last fight of the Spartans is original because of the heavy use of CGI, outstanding camera work and graphics. (see my post 300: This is Sparta! ) […]

  3. tuulenhaiven says:

    Yup, guilty pleasure indeed. I’ve been wanting to watching this one again. 🙂

    • warmoviebuff says:

      What did you think of the narration? Critics seem to be anti-narration usually, but I thought it worked this time. My favorite part of the movie is when the Persian diplomats arrive in Sparta on their fiery steeds and come to a screeching halt in the face of a Spartan male and he does not even flinch. That small moment set the tone for the rest of the movie.

      • Critics seem to be anti-narration? I’m afraid I don’t get you. People and critics like narration, I really don’t get it. I thought the tone was given from the very beginning when we hear about the way they raise their boys. What is actualyl incredible is the fact that the Spartans were like this.

    • Yes it is. It’s the first time I paid attention to Fassbender and the whole time I had in mind that he was going to be Mr Rochester. I think he is perfect in Fish Tank but in general I do not like him too much.

  4. Novroz says:

    Hmm…I probably the one in this comment list that doesn’t like 300. Well… doesn’t like probably not the right word…I just never been able to finish watching it.

    TV had played it like 5 times, first I watched it from the beginning and got bored then switched the channel. The second time from the middle…and again boredom over took me. The last time I saw it, I didn’t remember in which part was it…watched it for 10 minutes and then switched the channel again.

    I think the problem is in the CGI…too much CGI often put me down. Just like a Japanese Samurai Movie titled Goemon, too much CGI but fortunately the story was awesome so I can continue without turning it off.

    Some CGI like The Lord of The rings are the best…total CGI in good use like Avatar also okay (Tho I don’t like avatar that much due to the over predictable stotyline)

    • I had the same reaction when I watched for the first time. I really didn’t like it. The second time I liked it and found it very original. It is based on a comic and it really has a comic feel. The third time I found it still much better than the first but I think that was enough of rewatching it.

  5. warmoviebuff says:

    It might just be an American critic thing, but more times than not if a movie has narration the critic will say it was unnecessary. I seldom agree with that. See this: http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/is-narration-in-a-film-ever-good-or-just-a-guaranteed-annoyance/

    • You mean the voice over? But that is Greek, in every Greek tragedy there was someone explaining things and we see him at the beginning and at the end he is the only survivor and tells the tale. It is an integral part of the story and would be far less accurate without. I mostly like it anyway because it gives a movie a more literary dimension and is often used in movies based on books. But I haven’t read the link yet, so just guessing you talk about the voice-over.
      I just read it and I was right, the voice over narration (I think I mixed up narrative and narration and that was a bit confusing). I think he doesn’t interpret very well. All the movies he mentions are based on books and I can see how someone who isn’t familiar with reading could be annoyed. Never read anything like this from a European critic but I am sure it isn’t always well done maybe even gratuitous sometimes. I try to remember when it annoyed me last because there was a movie where I thought it was sort of pointless.

  6. warmoviebuff says:

    I fear you misunderstood my position on this issue. I am not against narration in movies and cannot remember ever being annoyed by it. I liked it in 300 and think it added to the film. I was just pointing out that some do not like narration in movies.

    • No I didn’t, I misundertood the word, thought you were talking about narrative. And I understood that you were not talking about your position but critics and others in general. I criticized the critics and found it odd they shouldn’t know that it is typical for a Greek tragedy. If you review something (not you, the critics) you should know what you are talking about.

  7. […] 300  (US 2007) directed by Zack Snyder, starring Gerard Butler, Lena Headey. Persian wars. (see my review) […]

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